The order was passed down yesterday by Judge Donna Ryu of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, stating that “Oracle may depose Mr. Page for a maximum of two hours, excluding breaks, solely on topics relevant to the willfullness of Defendant’s alleged patent infringement, and the value of Android to Defendant.”
The order comes a week after Oracle submitted its request to Judge Ryu, a request Google felt unnecessary, given that Android Inc. co-founder and current vice president for Android, Andy Rubin, has already been deposed and is more familiar than Page of the facts surrounding Android’s acquisition.
The courts are certainly swaying in Oracle’s direction, especially after Google admitted it rejected a $100 million deal with Java after initial discussions. The early talks took place before Android became the dominant player it is today, and makes Google look as if it knew the potential consequences for utilizing Java code even after the deal fell through.
The $100mm three-year “all-in” deal in 2006 outlined a technology partnership to build Android jointly, instead of paying up for just a patent license. Google denies infringing on Java patents, with Google attorney Robert Van Nest saying at a hearing yesterday that there weren’t any specific discussion of patents. The few lines of Android’s code that are identical to Java probably came from a third party, and “we are investigating that,” Van Nest said.
Google accomadates fragmentation
Though Google is fighting a heady court battle over its Android platform, the company continues to pour resources into its development.
In an effort to help developers manage Android fragmentation, Google’s embracing it, by letting app makers upload multiple APKs to the Android Market under a single title. This allows developers to offer different versions of their app to suit different devices without mixing download stats, user reviews or billing data.
Consolidating app distribution and management on Google’s end speaks to the diversification of third party platforms emerging with cloud-based services with similar management tools, and the need to appeal to app developers in support of its maturing ecosystem.